The news

The big news around the Kirwan house is that I got a real job! (I.e., I’m not going to be a “student” or “trainee” anymore.) I start this fall as an Assistant Professor in the Psychology Department at Brigham Young University. I know what you’re saying: “But Brock, what about your wild and crazy lifestyle? Will you have to give it all up to teach at BYU?” The answer is, sadly, yes. Just kidding. They tell me that I can still root for the Utes.

Academic job searches are sort of a weird breed, and they vary between disciplines. In psychology, departments start posting jobs toward the end of summer the year before they want to hire a new faculty member. Of the programs to which I applied (about 15 total), BYU had the earliest deadline (Oct 1). Other programs had deadlines as late as mid-December. As I began applying for positions last summer, it seemed that there were quite a few good jobs to be had. I turned out that through the course of the fall as the economy took a nose dive, many of those positions dried up. Many of the schools that were conducting multiple searches pared that down to just one search. Some schools called off their searches entirely. It left us feeling very blessed just to have an offer at all.

I interviewed at BYU in early November and then later at Ohio State, Johns Hopkins, and Boston University. The interview at BYU was the longest (2.5 days), the most involved (I met with the students, the faculty, two assistant deans, the academic vice president, and a member of the 1st Quorum of the Seventy), and the most stressful (probably because it was first, and also because of the meeting with the General Authority). It went really well, probably better than all the others (even the meeting with Elder Maynes).

BYU called a couple of weeks after I had interviewed to tell me that they wanted to make me an offer. It was much sooner than I expected to hear back from them, but it turned out that was a really good thing. BYU asked for a list of start-up expenses (things that I would need to get my lab up and going), and we went back and forth a couple of times with that in December. During this time I got a couple of calls from other primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) asking if I was still available. I told them that I had an offer from BYU and I couldn’t see myself taking an offer from them over the offer from BYU. Then, during the Christmas break, I got a phone call from the department chair letting me know that the Church had announced a Church-wide hiring freeze that included new hires at BYU. Made me rethink turning down interviews at those other universities!. However, since a verbal offer had been made prior to announcing the hiring freeze, the Psychology Department was allowed to go ahead and make me an official offer, which I accepted about a week ago.

I have resisted from blogging about the job search so far for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up too much (we’re really sad that we won’t be moving closer to our friends in Boston or Baltimore). Mostly, though, I’ve heard horror stories about job candidates saying dumb things on their blogs that search committees found out during the interview process. It turns out that these folks google you, so if you do something like, I don’t know, rank the schools you’ve interviewed at in the order that you liked them, that doesn’t go over too well. I wanted to avoid all that.

So, you Provoans past and present, we need your advice. First, on good neighborhoods with good schools. Second, on good places to eat (please tell me they exist). Lastly, if you or anyone you know is going on a mission and needs someone to house sit for you, we’re more than happy to oblige. We’re probably not going to buy a house right away, but think it might be a good time to do so in about 18 months…


9 Comments on “The news”

  1. nicole says:

    Congrats, Brock! BYU is lucky to have you!

  2. Valerie Gathright says:

    Congrats!! Provo is growing up, even since I was at school there. I hear they have a yoga studio, and a fabulous, Henrys meets Trader Joe’s type market. (Called “Sunflower Market”) What more could you ask for? 🙂 I love “Fresh Food Junkies” cafe, but for the less granola types, Los Hermanos has fantastic Mexican food with yummy specialty drinks.

  3. Scott Gentry says:

    So happy about your new job! Now that it is official. I can’t think of a better teacher to be there. With your experience, training, and abilities, you will take the department to a new level and a lot of students with you. We are lucky to have you in our family. LOL Dad Gentry

  4. Tasha H says:

    Congrats!!!! I’m so glad you’ll be here in P-Town! I love it here.

    My favorite eating spot is Cafe Rio…the best Mexican food ever! I’m not sure if it’s actually official, but it’s way good. And there’s this ice cream place called Sub Zero where they freeze your ice cream on the spot with liquid nitrogen!!! And J dawgs is always good too. Good luck!

  5. Linn says:

    Congratulations! We are bitter for us, but happy for you! You will love it!

  6. Jenny Preece says:

    Congratulations on your new job!! And thank goodness they’ll still let you cheer for the Utes! 🙂 That’s really great news though. I’m sure you’re looking forward to it. We’re just sad we’ll miss you by only a few months. It would have been fun to get together with you guys. Oh – and I’m glad to hear the interview with Elder Maynes went well. I actually know him really well because his daughter was one of my best friends in high school..and his son married my other best friend. Small world I guess. Speaking of small worlds – Steve “big brother” in his Sigma Chi fraternity added him as a friend on Facebook the other day…and Steve saw that the two of them had a friend in common — you! Jarv Campbell says he served his mission with you?

    Definitely a small world…

  7. Chris Cherry says:

    You have to go to burger supreme – my favorite by far. also, beto’s has sweet breakfast burritos and el azteca has enchiladas buenas. serena votes for the berry smoothies at los hermanos. there was also a good thai place on 2nd or 3rd south (i think) street but can’t remember the name (something garden). There was a sushi joint on center street with tuesday nights half off. the bombay house is pretty good indian (get the malai kafta) and pizza pipeline is the dorm room favorite (huge cheap pizzas with cheap ingredients obviously). anyway, i liked all of this food as a poor undergrad so i would be interested to see how your assistant professor palate responds. talk to you later.

  8. robert archuleta says:

    Dear Kirwans,
    Hello there! this is robert, i was just sitting here in Bethanys room minding my own business when i looked up to see that the Doc got a job at BY who. Congratulations Doc Brock im happy for you and your family, but you better rep the Utes colors at school like you said. 😀 ha ha.

    tell libby and Kel i said hello and i cant wait to see them again. I wanna go to cali in May to spread some of my moms ashes so hopefully you guys will be in the west around then. …. Love you all.


  9. Emma says:

    Congratulations! I am so excited for you! When are you going to make the move? We are actually going to be in UT this summer (late July- mid August) and would love to see you. My dad is currently the Chair of the Chemistry Dept. right now and I know he (and my mom) would be happy to help you out with anything you need as you prepare for your move. I wish I could give you some input as to schools, but I imagine much has changed since I graduated. I went to Mountain View High School and it was great for sports and music, but not for much else. Timpview had the best of everything, I think. That may have changed. We also love Bombay House. It’s one of our regular stops when we are in town. I like PF Changs – I know it’s a national chain, but I still like it. There are lots of small hole in the wall type ethnic restaurants that are good. I can ask my parents about rentals…. Again, congrats, and we hope to see you all this summer!
    Emma, Ben, Ian and Naomi

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